The Web of Life Sabino Canyon  
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Teeth are the most important characteristic in identifying mammals. What and how they eat is indicated by their teeth. The types, shape, and number of teeth are important.

There are four main types of teeth found in mammals. Each type of tooth has a different purpose. Some mammals have all of these types; some have only two or three types. *Herbivores* like white-tailed deer have tall molar teeth with flat upper surfaces. Notice the well-developed incisors for biting and cutting on cottontail rabbits. Wide molar teeth with low bumpy crowns are found on *omnivores* like coyotes and javelina. *Carnivores* like bobcats must have sharp canine teeth in order to grab and stab the flesh of their *prey*.

Human Teeth (Side View)
Drawing showing location of types of human teeth

are designed for: biting, cutting, and stripping.

are designed for: seizing, piercing, and tearing.

are designed for: grinding, crushing, shearing, and slicing.

are designed for: grinding and crushing.

In addition, carnivores have *carnassials* that are used for shearing meat. Carnassials are the last upper premolar combined with the first lower molar teeth. Bobcats have carnassial teeth.

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